Sometimes you read a game supplement which is worth taking note of, but isn’t quite substantial enough to waffle on about at length. When that happens to me, I make articles in this series. This time around, a WFRP release and a couple of tasty treats for Delta Green.
Archives of the Empire Volume I (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay)
This is presumably the first of a series, the idea seeming to be to package up small amounts of material on WFRP-relevant subjects in broadly thematically-related collections – kind of like Hogshead’s old Apocrypha Now collections, only a bit more focused. This first Archives of the Empire is broadly based around diversifying the coverage of the Empire. First up, there’s a useful section giving a rundown of the various Grand Provinces of the Empire, as they exist just prior to the events of the Enemy Within campaign. (There’s a promise that the final Enemy Within volume – Empire In Ruins – will give an update detailing what the lie of the land is once the campaign concludes.)
Following on from this, the book primarily concentrates on the major non-human peoples who live in the Empire – halflings, dwarves, and elves, along with major settlements for each of them (the Mootland for the halflings, Karak Azgaraz for the dwarves, and the Laurelorn for the elves). Elf fans may feel slightly underserved, since the halflings also get an article on their clan structure and the dwarves also get an article detailing the Imperial dwarves who dwell not in the Karaks but make their life in human-majority communities. That said, the Laurelorn is a good choice of something to profile, since it is close enough to Middenheim to make it likely that groups playing the Enemy Within campaign will be able to make use of it whilst also being an interesting enough enclave in its own right to help fill in the gaps when it comes to elves living in the Empire.
With some fun new careers (halfling badger-riders!) to fill things out, the book feels like it will be of use to a wide variety of WFRP campaigns, especially any with halfling, dwarf, or elf PCs, though equally one wonders why the rundown of the Provinces wasn’t either in the 4th edition core book or a more general Empire-focused supplement. (At one point the book references Sigmar’s Heirs, suggesting that if that isn’t a) a typo or b) a reference to the 2nd edition supplement that Cubicle 7 might be planning an update of that book somewhere down the line.)
ARCHINT (Delta Green)
In espionage circles, information is often categorised based on how it was obtained. SIGINT, for instance, is a term referring to intelligence obtained via intercepted signals; HUMINT refers to “human intelligence”, information obtained through tip-offs, interrogations, and so on. In Delta Green, there’s also ARCHINT – ARCHaeological INTelligence, information obtained through archaeological finds, for the threats Delta Green must face have truly ancient roots…
This short booklet was funded as a PDF release through the Kickstarter which saw the relaunch of Delta Green as its own standalone game, and has now released. (Print-on-demand hard copies can be obtained via DriveThruRPG.) The concept is simple: it’s a series of run-downs of items of Mythos significance, each item given a fairly detailed description, an overview of its history, and specifics of what it does, all in sufficient detail that an entire Delta Green investigation (or maybe even an entire campaign) could be built around one of them. (Despite the title, not all of these are ancient. At least one crawled into existence via the sucking portal of online awfulness known as 8Chan.)
In this respect, it’s a sort of malign counterpart to the Book of Artifacts from 2nd Edition AD&D, in that both supplements are based around describing unusual items not as mere trinkets to give someone a game mechanical edge but as sources of plot in their own right. The nice little pocket-sized investigation seeds that the different entries represent also remind me a lot of the SCP Foundation family of short-form creepypasta, which makes sense since even if the SCP stuff isn’t directly inspired by Delta Green, it’s very much playing around in the same ballpark.
Though brief, ARCHINT will almost certainly provide you with outsized value for money; even though it doesn’t provide any sort of fully fleshed-out scenario, most skilled referees will be able to pick this up and spin it out into numerous sessions’ worth of fun trying to close this particular set of Pandora’s Boxes.
Evidence Kit: The Labyrinth (Delta Green)
This is a little supplemental something to go along with The Labyrinth, John Tynes’ intricate sourcebooks of fresh new conspiracies for Delta Green. Of just under 60 pages or so, it offers a collection of nice little documents, business cards, photographs, book covers, and other little things of general use as handouts in investigations involving the subjects in question.
Though a print-on-demand hard copy is available, I think most referees will find the PDF to be of way more use, particularly for the purpose of copy-pasting, editing, and printing out things to suit the particular circumstances of their campaign. I wouldn’t call it particularly essential, but if you got some DriveThruRPG store credit to blow on something and didn’t have any other ideas I’d say it’s a useful thing to have if you run Delta Green and use The Labyrinth.